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Forgiving your cheating spouse will bring you peace

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Last May 12, at around 8:30 pm, on the fifth floor of the San Jose State University parking garage, at point blank range, 54 year old Silicon Valley engineer Napoleon “Nappy” Caliguiran repeatedly shot his young 25 year old wife Marcory “Cindy” Tarlit Caliguiran and 26 year old Thomas Kyle Williams—as the two sat in the front seats of her black 2005 Mercedes Benz. Both died instantly.

Caliguiran then shot himself and was found mortally wounded a few feet from the car. Students heard the gun shots which reverberated through the concrete structure. Caliguiran died moments later at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

Cindy and Williams who was also married, were classmates. Both were extremely bright accounting students who were scheduled to graduate with honors in three weeks time. Classmates said the two were study mates and that she probably just offered to give him a ride.

But a school official admits that nobody can tell what really happened: “We don’t know a lot and we may never know a lot about the series of events that led to what happened in our garage…”

Police said they have yet to establish the motive.

What might have happened here?

Here’s what I think.

First, I note that the reports indicated the parents of Cindy are in the Philippines which would suggest that most likely, Caliguiran filed an immigrant petition for her.

She had been at the University since 2009 and previously was at De Anza College for two years. She also worked part time at Bank of Santa Clara at that time. Not only was she bright, she was also ambitious and worked hard – qualities that make a person attractive.

It might be that she had an affair with Williams or maybe not. However, we can logically conclude that in his mind, Caliguiran was convinced that they were having an affair. He stalked her and waited with his gun to ambush them at the parking garage. Neighbors’ reported that he and Cindy had a noisy quarrel two weeks before the killings.

Last year I wrote an article titled: “I want my wife deported.” It was about a 72 year old retired accountant who wrote me a letter which reads:

“Dear Attorney, I am a 72 year old retired accountant who did well in the US. A widower, I married my attractive 25 year old wife three years ago. We come from the same barrio in Nueva Vizcaya. I brought her to the US and she certainly has a much better life now. I gave her parents a generous sum of money when we married and send them money now and then. I was very happy until I discovered her affair with a co-worker. I discovered the sizzling exchange of romantic text messages in her cell phone. I confronted her and she tearfully confessed, asking for forgiveness. She says this young man had been very aggressive and she tried to resist but eventually gave in. She has been seeing him for three weeks now. I want to hurt this guy. I feel devastated and hurt by the betrayal. I want my wife deported. Can you please help me on this? Ben”

The following are parts of my reply:

“Dear Manong Ben, Here’s my take on your situation: I understand your anguish, confusion and anger. You cannot eat, sleep or concentrate. Conjured scenarios of your young wife in wild passionate sensual engagement swirl in your brain with tortuous repetition. Your initial reaction reeks of revenge: Deport her. Condemn her back to barrio poverty and boredom. Get a hit-man to bury this bum alive. Rip his head off. Chop off his thing.

You would not be human if you had no such reactions.

Cool it and look at reality and the big picture. Most likely she married you not for your Piolo Pascual looks but your tender ways—legal tender that is. You made yourself attractive by going green. You showered her parents with green bucks. Your fat wallet and your blue US passport made you super pogi. You gave her an offer she could not refuse: escape from the barrio, a green card, nice clothes, nice cars, great food, nice house and spending money.

That’s fine. You gotta do what you gotta do to achieve your goal. You made other old guys’ fantasies a reality. That shows guts. But manong, marrying a woman 47 years younger—I am sure you are aware —has its risks. You assumed that risk.

Most likely, she never intended to cheat on you… I am sure she initially tried to resist the stud’s advances…but because of tyrannical biological imperatives, resistance eventually converted into welcomed acceptance.

What then? Anger, resentment, hate, thoughts of revenge? These won’t help. These destructive negatives eat you up, increase your blood pressure, drown you in constant misery and depression. They can even drive you insane.

Here’s my advice: For your psychological-emotional survival, and because it’s the right and good thing to do, unconditionally forgive her and cease demonizing her.

Deeply understand that she is only human like all of us. Once you forgive her and forget her indiscretions, your peace will come back to you. The tightness in your chest, the headaches, sleepiness nights, thoughts of revenge -all will vanish like sidewalk snow melted by the hot sun. You can then proceed with your life. Forgiving heals your hurt and make you feel good about yourself. This is good science.

Forget about deporting her. Revenge and bitterness won’t do much good.

If she leaves you or if you leave her, genuinely wish her well. You gave her a chance for a better life, genuinely feel good about that. You made a big difference in one person’s life—maybe several if you include her family. In exchange, you had her for three good years, enjoyed her company, made love to her…made you feel young again.

Do your crying, sincerely forgive, forget and move on. Don’t let your dark side dominate.

If you cannot really live without her, tell her so. Love her not only as a wife but as a human being. Affirm your love despite her extramarital liaisons. Risk being a fool. It’s all right. Love begets love, especially true, honest to goodness love. Who knows, she might get tired of her young Lothario, appreciate you more and truly love you.

If this does not work, nothing prevents you from divorcing her, returning to your barrio and marrying another woman. Maybe Manong, a little older this time? Good luck and take care. Ted”

Had someone given Caliguiran this advice and if he had followed it – this tragedy would not have happened. He, Cindy and Kyle would still be alive if that were the case.

Plain and simple, Caliguiran suspected Cindy of having an affair with Williams. Insane with jealousy, he stalked her with his gun and waited for an opportunity to catch them together. That tragic night of May 12, 2011—he waited unseen and observed them together inside her car. He then approached and shot both repeatedly in the head.

As a lawyer, distraught desperate confused men and women have come to me because they caught their spouses cheating. I give them the same advice as I have given to Manong Ben because I sincerely believe it’s the right advice. I know that I have saved some of these marriages, kept families together and prevented violence. My clients have told me so and I thank them for the feedback.

However, a number of posted comments on the article tell me that for some—it is very difficult to forgive a cheating partner and take on the “stone her (or him) to death” mentality.
Of course, this is understandable. It’s never easy to forgive someone whom you loved and
trusted and who betrayed you – causing you to be devastated.

But we all need to forgive when this happens – in order to make our devastated selves whole again. I continue to be amazed at what forgiveness can do for our souls. It takes away our anger, hatred and resentments – healing us and bringing us peace.

Insane asylums are full of people who cannot forgive. Passion killings like this Caliguiran situation are often due to temporary insanity brought about by the unwillingness to forgive.

“How many times must we forgive?” Peter asked Jesus, “Seven times?”

“No.” answered Jesus, “Seventy times seven!” meaning: Always!

Note: The California State Bar honors Atty. Ted Laguatan as one of the best immigration lawyers in the country – recognizing him as one of less than 29 US lawyers officially certified Immigration Law Expert-Specialist continuously for more than 20 years. He also does accident injuries, wrongful death and complex litigation. For communications: (San Francisco area) 455 Hickey Blvd. Suite 516, Daly City, Ca 94015. Tel 650-991-1154. Fax 650-991-1186 email laguatanlaw@gmail.com

Originally posted at 7:05 pm | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011


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